LAKE WYLIE — If there were to be a large sewage spill at Crowders Creek Elementary School, it likely happened at the best time and place possible.
Sewage overflows are stated in estimate numbers. Based on what was reported to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, the Labor Day spill was one of the larger ones reported in recent months near Lake Wylie. Tega Cay has had several sewage spills in recent months including three on or near Labor Day, though most were significantly smaller.
“The overflow resulted in an estimated 150,000 gallons spilled and was caused by a contractor who broke a main line during digging,” said Lindsey Evans with DHEC.
The school and utility Carolina Water Service reported the sewer overflow from Labor Day caused by construction on site. It happened on a holiday and in the early evening, when students weren’t at school. It also happened in a place that could contain it.
“The pipe was not in front of the school where the most visible construction is taking place,” said Mychal Frost, Clover School District public information officer, “but was behind the school and beyond the tree line where a retention pond is being created.”
Tom Oakley with Carolina Water, parent company of Utilities Inc., said the retention pond was able to hold the overflow until it could be removed. He said it wasn’t his company’s work there that led to the incident.
“Someone else’s contractor cut a force main causing the spill,” Oakley said. “It was contained to a stormwater retention pond on the site and then pumped out.”
The contractor responsible cleaned up the spill site Sept. 3, which was a school day. Inspections by DHEC and an environmental engineer working with the district on the project led to the decision not to delay or cancel school.
“There was no impact to the operation of the school,” Frost said. “We were in communication with DHEC during the event and no recommendation was made to cancel school the following day. There was no disruption to school operations.”